©Arlene Taylor PhD

Many parents and teachers ask, “How can I figure out the child’s innate brain-energy advantage?” That can be a challenge in adulthood. How much more so during childhood when the brain still has a long way to go in terms of development!

Give the child a variety of learning opportunities and observe:

  • How does the child approaches each task or activity?

  • What type of comments does the child make?

  • How tired or energized does the child appear to be after completing a specific task or activity?

  • What tasks or activities does the child procrastinate?

  • Toward what tasks or activities does the child gravitate?

  • During which tasks or activities does the child appear to lose all track of time and/or hates to have to stop?

  • What tasks or activities does the child frequently want to do?

You can also observe the behaviors the child exhibits in classroom settings and then compare them with some of the commonly observed behaviors that children tend to exhibit based on innate brain lead.

Refer to tables that follow.

Behaviors that may be observed in children with a frontal preference (e.g., frontal left or frontal right):

brain lead 
Left Frontal Lobe

  • Are usually quite precise
  • Need to reason in order to learn
  • Are seen as leaders, are articulate, and may even intimidate the teacher
  • Are viewed as bright, and appear to know more than the other students
  • May see school as a game that must be won in order to be successful (may underachieve, just doing enough to get by)
  • Often easily master subjects such as arithmetic, algebra, calculus, statistics, auto mechanics, electronics, engineering, public speaking, and research science
  • Prefer tests with multiple-choice questions but can handle essay questions or verbal presentations
  • Are talented in goal setting / achievement, strategy development, precision, and inductive/deductive reasoning
  • Are limited in ease of speaking foreign languages, spiritual experiences, nurturing, dressing (color, fabric, and style harmony)
  • Tend to ask how does this work or function questions

brain lead 
Right Frontal Lobe

  • Are often seen as the geniuses although may not perform up to the expectations of others
  • May have oodles of incomplete projects
  • Usually have difficulty in writing/spelling
  • May have trouble with self-care as in brushing the teeth, tying shoelaces
  • May be considered dyslexic due to a reduced ability to perform BL functions
  • May exhibit symptoms of stress when required to conform to rules/regulations
  • Need to be able to move in order to learn
  • May view school as a barely-tolerable situation and are at high risk for dropping out
  • Often excel at subjects such as chemistry, physics, geometry, trigonometry, philosophy, creative writing including poetry/essays, as well as artistic creativity (if introverted) or entrepreneurial activities (if extroverted)
  • Can handle essay questions (especially if can be prepared on a computer rather than in longhand), lines of poetry, a musical composition, or an art project
  • Are talented in exploring the unknown, finding new solutions (inventions), visioning, mimicry, and inspiration
  • Are limited in routine self-care, detailed procedures, sequenced details (spelling), and accuracy in addition
  • Tend to ask if and what if questions


To Validate an Energy Advantage in the Left Frontal Lobe

  • Allow them to create debating games and participate

  • Say things such as, “It’s helpful to have a strong logical argument for what you want to accomplish”

  • Understand they want to make decisions (whenever possible, allow them to participate in setting the rules; provide opportunities for making decisions from a selection of previously established options)

  • Positively reinforce their attempts at critical analysis and for asking how does this work or function questions

To Validate an Energy Advantage in the Right Frontal Lobe

  • Create an affirmative atmosphere for daydreaming and imagining (remind them that some of the world’s most creative individuals are daydreamers)

  • Understand that to them rules represent an unnecessary evil; set and enforce a minimum number of rules and explain why they are necessary; be willing to adjust rules/regulations

  • Encourage exploration, variety, spontaneity, and individuality

  • Affirm them for asking if and what if questions


Behaviors that may be observed in children with a preference for using the posterior lobes (e.g., left posterior lobes or right posterior lobes):

brain lead 
Left Posterior Lobes

  • Are usually quite well-behaved
  • Are likely to do whatever the teacher expects
  • Don’t know the environment and don’t see the big picture easily
  • Often exhibit anxiety when change is required
  • Need time to learn, to incorporate new information into an existing body of knowledge, or to insert a new step into an already-mastered routine
  • Tend to view school as the way life isand try to fit in
  • Easily master subjects such as reading, spelling, writing (printing or cursive), bookkeeping, civics, history, and typing
  • Prefer true-or-false test questions and like predictability in terms of examinations (can experience extreme stress if a surprise quiz is announced)
  • Are gifted at detailed procedures, repetitive tasks, operating machines, routine self-care
  • Are limited in drama, novelty, inspiration, and imaginative forecasting/trending
  • Tend to ask how to do it right questions

brain lead 
Right Posterior Lobes

  • Are often seen as pleasers
  • Have difficulty saying no
  • Stay close to the teacher
  • Enjoy giving gifts
  • Need to talk, play, and work with others in order to learn
  • See school as a chance to associate with friends, and view studying as incidental
  • Enjoy drama, languages, interior decorating, home economics, counseling, and music
  • Don’t like test questions of any kind (prefer practical questions and situations that allow them to exhibit, demonstrate, role-model, or act out/portray the answers in some way)
  • Are talented in hosting, spiritual experiences, dressing, and connecting
  • Are limited in logical or unpopular decision-making
  • Have difficulty with hardball negotiations and/or when doing cost-benefit analysis
  • If relationships aren’t rewarding at school, may be at risk for dropping out
  • Tend to ask why questions (which another brain really cannot answer)


To Validate an Energy Advantage in the Left Posterior Lobes

  • Teach procedures sequentially, using at least three steps for each

  • Develop, state, and enforce appropriate regulations (rules provide them with predictability and security)

  • Discuss pros and cons of needed change

  • Introduce the concept of change with a preface such as, “You and I are going to load a new procedure” or “You can add this step to the routine you are already using”

  • Acknowledge the discomfort associated with change and help the child to adjust

  • Affirm them for asking how to do it right questions

To Validate an Energy Advantage in the Right Posterior Lobes

  • Allow opportunities for them to help plan and give a party; to make and give a gift

  • Provide time to talk about the rules and make sure they apply to everyone equally

  • Support them in decision-making

  • Make comments such as, “If you need help in making a choice, I’m here to help you”

  • Provide playing time and costumes for dress-up and drama (or for) play-acting

  • Afford plenty of touch affirmation

  • Affirm them for helping others to feel included, comfortable, or at home

  • Affirm them for asking questions (although why questions can be difficult to answer) and respond with information to the best of your ability. If you don’t “know,” avoid pretending you do. Instead, suggest that you and the child explore the question together